Looking for diesel - found a sleeping coyote,
9 x 12 ", oil on clayboard, 2011
What are you working on in your studio right now?
I just started a series of larger paintings. I have been working small for the last few years and felt it was time to return to working on a larger scale. I love the intimacy of holding a painting in my hand and being close to the surface and paint, but have missed the more physical experience of working larger.
Can you describe your working routine?
I work on several paintings at once. I have a rack of unresolved paintings, a wall of work in progress, a wall of paintings that are marinating (resting to see if they are finished or not) and a wall of completed work that I am still thinking about and working from.
The first part of my day at the studio is spent drinking coffee, looking at the work and moving things around. A painting that made it to the wall of completed work may end up back in marination or back to the purgatory of the unresolved rack. Starting is often the hardest part and if I just can't face the paintings I will clean, organize, and prepare new surfaces until I find a way in.
Can you describe your studio space and how, if at all, that affects your work?
My studio is in one of the few remaining old buildings near the waterfront in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I've been in the space for 6 or 7 years and have watched as the old industrial buildings are taken down and replaced with shiny new condos -- the Old Dutch Mustard Company came down brick by brick, and now the Con Ed plant across the way is an empty lot. Living and working in this neighborhood plays a key role in my work. On my walk to the studio I see the East River and Manhattan skyline, the Williamsburg Bridge and the new high-rise buildings. The Domino Sugar Factory looms empty and and dark, and its overgrown yards are littered with piles of pipes and random pieces of garbage. I work with ambient memories and these visual stimuli act as a structure on which to hang my ideas. While painting I often meditate on the passage of time and the resulting deterioration. Williamsburg is a living, breathing example of this constant cycle of destruction and creation and it mirrors my creative process -- building up the canvas then scraping everything away to try to get at some truth or understanding of a larger system at work.
Swarm , 14 x 18 ", oil on clayboard, 2011
Tell me about your process, where things begin, how they evolve etc.
When I start a painting I don't have any idea what the end result will be -- I follow the painting's lead. They often begin with a color or shape idea that is related to a memory of something I saw, read about or experienced. This can be something as simple as what I had for breakfast or as difficult as the loss of a loved one. If things are going well the associations will continue. Some paintings happen very fast, and others take years to resolve. They often don't make sense to me until well after they are completed. The titles of the paintings are words or phrases that come up while I am working and they are an integral part of the process.
What are you having the most trouble resolving?
It has been challenging to return to the larger canvases. If I am working with difficult subject matter I feel very exposed.
work in progress wall
Do you experiment with different materials a lot or do you prefer to work within certain parameters?
I am predominantly an oil painter, but occasionally other materials make their way in -- scraps of fabric, thread, a page from a book, etc.
What does the future hold for this work?
I can't wait to find out!
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Thanks for asking me these questions. Writing is an important part of my practice (that I have been neglecting) and it feels good to get my ideas organized.
Di Suvero Swing,
8 x 10 ", oil on clayboard, 2011